Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Two New Things

by Gordo Byrn

Each winter I try to find a couple of new things to try in the upcoming year. We had our Boulder Coaches Clinic last month and I found my two tweaks for 2015.

Be Bored
Justin shared a story about turning his phone off when traveling and it reminded me of the importance of a lack of stimulation during recovery. In particular, working athletes get hooked on constant stimulation.

So, when recovery is essential (specific preparation blocks, big day training, before key races)... make an effort to dial down the stimulation.


  • Turn your phone off
  • Pull the pin on social networks
  • No email before noon
  • No email after dinner

I like to carry around a small notepad so I can jot down little notes to put my mind at ease.

Race Week Depletion Workout
I’ve been hearing about depletion workouts for years but all the discussion has been anecdotal.

For example, I heard World Champion XYZ used to big-ring the Kona course during race week drinking nothing but water. I heard about another world champion who would pre-ride the Kona course on nothing but air!

Alan gave a talk that made it appear that the science is catching up with the experience.

AC’s talk pulled together the research on the components of long-course performance. He shared the nature of each type of fitness -- time to build, time to recover, time to decay.

One recommendation he made to the coaches was to include a depletion workout four to six days before competition.

An example, for an experienced athlete, might be:

Tuesday before your ironman:

  • Eat your normal race breakfast
  • Swim the course
  • Ride 3.5 hours Steady, every half hour insert 5 minutes at Half IM effort
  • Swim and bike are only supported by water
  • Follow with a large recovery meal

The session will deplete you, but won’t damage your legs or cause lingering fatigue. The idea is to challenge your glycogen stores so they super-compensate for race day.

Your inclination is likely to be to take this sort of workout to the extreme.

As AC would say…

Train Smart!

Gordo is the founder of Endurance Corner. You can find his personal blog at coachgordo.wordpress.com.

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